Driver efficiency: 15 ways to improve your driving

Driver efficiency: 15 ways to improve your driving

Statistics show that many road users aren’t driving as economically as they could, or they could improve their driving efficiency.

Michelin claims that, in the UK, the effects of under-inflated tyres wastes roughly £246 million on fuel alone, every year! Nevertheless, Spencer’s MOT have a few simple changes to our habits which can have a hugely positive impact. This would benefit you not only economically, but on your environmental impact and our local communities too.

Test the pressure

With Christmas looming, and long journeys likely, we advise you to check your tyre pressure regularly! Driving with tyres under-inflated by 8psi can increase fuel consumption by 4% and reduce tyre life by 6000 miles. Correct pressure means you’ll significantly improve your fuel efficiency by decreasing your rolling resistance – in addition to being safer. To help find what tyre pressure is suitable, it will be on a plate inside of the driver’s door.

Plan your journey

When you know you’re taking a long journey, planning can ensure your driving efficiency is maximised. Firstly, we recommend you leave more time so you can anticipate traffic jams. Alternatively, take a slightly slower and more relaxed and enjoyable route! This means you can save fuel due to lesser chances of sporadic braking and accelerating. We estimate speeds of around 55-65mph optimise driving efficiency. So, if you’re not under time constraints, take the scenic route, rather than the motorway, to save fuel and energy.

Take care of the engine

Regular and proper engine maintenance is vital to the overall efficiency of your car. Using the incorrect oil for your engine can result in higher fuel consumption and general poor performance. So, make sure you’re running the right grade! Additionally, changing your air filters ensures your engine can breathe happily.

Reduce weight

Did you know, the fuel consumption of a mid-size car increases by about 1% for every 25 kilograms it carries? Therefore, if you don’t need it, leave it behind!

Combine journeys

In coalescence with ‘plan your journey,’ we recommend combining journeys, because warm engines run more efficiently than cold ones. So, if you’re planning on running several errands in a day, try combining your journeys to save fuel (and time!).

Anticipate traffic

A study has revealed that aggressive driving can reduce fuel efficiency by between 10 and 40 percent in stop-start traffic. Nathan Wright suggests that by planning ahead, it enables you to anticipate hazards and recognise the actions of other motorists. As a result, you’re less likely to need to brake suddenly, or accelerate quickly. What’s more, it’ll help you stay safe.

Close car windows

Now the weather is cooling down, we’re reminding you that you do not need the heating on and windows open! Leaving your windows open causes drag, thus, causing your fuel costs to also increase. Alternatively, in electric cars, it reduces its electric range. Using the air-conditioning function is much more efficient at cooling you down, or simply turning the heating down! Furthermore, now outdoor activities are becoming less feasible, it’s also worth removing bicycle and empty roof racks; an empty rack increases drag by up to 16% at around 70mph.

Social distance in driving

It is always a good idea to keep a healthy distance from the car in front. By giving you more time to react, you’ll have fewer instances of harsh and sudden braking. We recommend at least a 2 second gap between each car. To help, repeating ‘only a fool breaks the two second rule’ should achieve this distance!

Utilise cruise control 

By utilizing your cruise control function, it can help increase your fuel efficiency by between 7 and 14%. By regulating your speed, it lessens the need to constantly check the dial. Instead, you’re able to be more aware and perceptive of any potential hazards.

Avoid ‘fast lane’ mentality

On a motorway, it’s easy to get into the mindset of outside-lane or middle-lane driving to avoid slow inside-lane traffic. However, this way, it is easier for your speed to unknowingly increase. Consequently, it could put you above the speed limit, leaving you vulnerable to speeding fines and increased chances of accidents; in addition to not being energy or fuel-efficient. Particularly, research indicates that petrol cars will increase their fuel consumption by 12.8% when travelling at 75mph compared to 60mph.

Turn off engine

According to a study by the DHEC, an average idling engine can use nearly two litres of fuel per hour. Although many modern cars have a stop-start function to increase their efficiency, older cars do not have this luxury. Therefore, if you’re stuck in traffic, it’s worth turning your engine off when you’re stationary for several minutes. By doing so, it saves fuel and cuts emissions.

Heated seats

As we fast approach winter, the cold weather might be encouraging an exploitative use of our heating system. Thus, we recommend the use of heated seats, which will warm you much faster than the air-conditioning. Therefore, it will help you save fuel, or increase your electric range.

Utilise regenerative braking

Nowadays, many electric cars let you adjust the regenerative braking force. To do this, they recapture energy for the battery while generating a braking effect when you lift off the throttle. This one pedal driving is a lot more energy efficient than hopping from throttle to brakes. When driving at a steady speed, for example, on a motorway, it’s best to turn regenerative braking off. However, on an A-road, regenerative braking is a great way extend your range, without alternating between throttle and the brakes.

Gear changes

While many modern automatic cars are designed with fuel efficiency in mind, with manual cars, it’s down to the driver. To improve overall efficiency, try changing up at around 2000rpm in diesels, and 2500rpm in petrols.

Proud driver

Research suggests drivers who check their fuel consumption displays regularly can improve their fuel efficiency by up to 15%. This is simply because they have increased awareness of how much fuel they’re using.

For more ways to save fuel.

Find the perfect vehicle to improve your driving efficiency here.

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